Arizona Stories

James D. Fairweather, Tucson

(Nominated by Joanne Fairweather)
Centennial Hall, University of Arizona
July 8, 2011

My husband won the Bronze Star during the Vietnam War for keeping his unarmed cargo airplane on the ground under enemy fire long enough to evacuate US service men who were sustaining casualties. He was 27 years old. On 9/11 he was the pilot of a corporate jet taking former President George H. Bush and wife, Barbara, to a speaking engagement in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the one who told them and the four Secret Service people on board, of the attacks in the United States. On 9/12, he was asked to fly them to Kennebunkport, Maine where the President’s parents could be “locked away” safely. That evening we were invited to visit them at their home there. We had special clearance to fly on 9/12 and were then grounded until that Friday when we returned to Minnesota. Upon retirement in Tucson, Jim worked as a volunteer at the Catalina Mountain School mentoring incarcerated young men and in a Colonia in Agua Prieta, Mexico, working to improve the quality of life there. It is my feeling that his character exemplifies the best of the American spirit.